Woman Shooter Attacks Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church During Sunday Service

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Joel Osteen church woman shooter
Photo Credit: User:Justin Brackett, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church service was interrupted by a woman shooter with a lengthy rap sheet opening fire with an AR-15 on congregants Sunday afternoon.

Woman shooter attacks Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church

The shocking event unfolded just before the Houston church’s Spanish service scheduled for 2 p.m.

The attacker, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, who claimed to have a bomb, was accompanied by an innocent seven-year-old boy, when the criminal began spraying bullets into the church, which has a capacity of 16,000.

Moreno wore a trenchcoat and a backpack, while brandishing a long rifle, and immediately opening fire as soon as she walked in.

Fortunately, the shooting occurred before the services was about to start, so the church was not completely filled.

Congregants were also lucky that there were two armed security guards on the premises, who were moonlighting at the church while off-duty from their jobs at the Houston Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The officers exchanged gunfire with Moreno, who has a prior criminal history includes assaulting a police officer in 2009 and forgery the next year, both crimes she was convicted for.

Woman shooter fatally wounded by Lakewood Church security guards

When Moreno went down, she said that she was armed with a bomb, but no explosives were found on the body, in her vehicle, or anywhere else in the church.

The young boy the shooter dragged along with her, was identified as her son Sam, who was hit during the shootout and another victim, a man in his fifties, also suffered injuries during the incident, when he was shot in the leg.

Medical updates indicated that Sam was being treated for a gunshot wound the head at a children’s hospital in critical condition while the man was in stable condition at another hospital with a hip injury.

The motive behind the shooting is also a mystery, however “Free Palestine” was written on the rifle she fired, and Moreno’s mother was reportedly a member of the church.

According to the shooter’s former mother-in-law, Moreno is a schizophrenic who only periodically takes her prescribed medication.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner, in a statement to the press outside the church premises, condemned the shooter’s actions, holding her accountable for the direct endangerment of the child: “That female, that suspect, put that baby in danger. I’m going to put that blame on her.”

Witness accounts recounted the distressing sounds of multiple shots fired, as thousands of adults and children were inside the building engaging in bible study, daycare, and other activities.

Parishioner Christina Rodriguez told Houston’s KTRK that she didn’t believe that the initial shots came from a weapon, until hearing the second round of gunfire.

“And then you see people running … and see the fear in people’s eyes, is when you realize there’s an active shooter inside the building,” she detailed.

Once Rodriguez understood the danger of the situation, she started screaming “there’s a shooter,” and hid with others in the church’s library.

Others immediately fled the church, which is so large that it once was the Houston Rockets’ arena, running for their lives as they heard the gun battle.

Children attending dance classes at the church cowered in fear while hiding in a bathroom, with their teacher guarding the barricaded door.

Houston Police evacuated the building for hours, and churchgoers were were directed to a nearby gym, where they anxiously waited to be reunited with their family members.

Joel Osteen issues statement about Lakewood Church after attack by schizophrenic woman shooter

Osteen was shocked that violence erupted at the megachurch on Sunday.

“We’ve been here 65 years and to have somebody shooting in your church?” he said said during a press conference. “We don’t understand why this happened.”

“We’re going to pray for that 5-year-old boy, and pray for the lady that was deceased and her family and all, and the other gentleman,” Osteen encouraged his parishioners.

He said the church would “stay strong” and “continue to move forward.”

Osteen’s just glad that more of the faithful weren’t injured during the shooting.

“If there’s anything good of it, she didn’t get in there and do a whole lot worse damage,” he added.

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